Attorneys General of 39 states, including Wisconsin, reach a $21 million settlement with Dannon for making deceptive health claims for its popular yogurt and dairy drinks.
Assistant Attorney General Lara Sutherlin, who handled the case, says this is the largest payment to date in a multistate settlement with a food producer. “It’s significant because as the food industry sort of moves into this area of making health-related marketing claims, it’s important that they understand that the states and the FTC are paying attention to those health-related marketing claims.”
Dannon advertises that probiotics in its products can relieve digestive problems and help to prevent the common cold. Sutherlin says, in general, there are thousands of consumer complaints every year. “Deceptive marketing in a consumer-based economy like we have is actually really very prevalent.”
Under the multistate settlement, Dannon will pay $21 million to settle allegations that the company made unsubstantiated and unlawful marketing claims for its Activia yogurts and DanActive dairy drinks. Wisconsin gets $861,000 of that.
Sutherlin says this settlement should act as a deterrent for other companies. Also, consumer should beware, although it’s not always easy. “I think the obvious starting point is ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ and ‘nothing comes for free’ typically speaking.”
Wisconsin was among the nine states who lead the investigation into Dannon’s unlawful marketing practices.